After reading several human resource posts urging pre-interview Google searches to qualify employment candidates, I wondered aloud, “What would a recruiter think of MY Google footprint?” Some view this as infringement, while others consider it gathering information to make an informed choice. Setting aside the ethics for a moment—what would a recruiter find if they Googled you? It had been years since I searched my name. I decided to take a look.
There are lots of Randy Clarks to be found on Google. I first appeared on the fourth page. Would somebody looking to learn more about Randy Clark mistaken me for the international speaker, evangelist, or songwriter?

My first piece of common sense advice: Be sure you have the right person

I altered my search to my social media handle, @randyclarktko. Midway down the first page, Favstar listed my “top tweets.” What would a recruiter think of, “Rumor has it MySpace is set to acquire Polaroid for an undisclosed amount.” Would they wonder if I was snarky and mean spirited?

Second takeaway: Take what you find with the perspective of context

I found I had been hijacked—sort of. I was used by a service I had briefly tried and discarded. They SHOUTED: “Randy Clark uses our service!” No. I. Didn’t. I’d tried the service and found it lacking.

Third consideration: Just because the internet suggests someone supports, favors, or recommends something doesn’t make it true

I am fortunate that odious images of me aren’t floating around the webosphere. If Instagram had been around 40 years ago, there may have been. However, video of me singing in a cornfield or performing a rain dance can be found. I think I’m funny… but what would a recruiter think?

Fourth thought: Take what you find with a grain of salt. Most people have done something, silly, weird, or controversial

I also found videos, presentations, and blogs that were my work. This was the Randy Clark I’d want a recruiter to find.

Fifth recommendation: Look for links attributed to the candidate

I’ve conducted a lot of interviews, but I’ve never Googled a candidate to help me make a hiring decision, nor have I searched social media—other than LinkedIn, and only by invitation. It’s not that I believe it’s necessarily an intrusion—it’s because it’s so easy to get the wrong impression. Am I wrong? Should I be vetting candidates on the internet? Does your organization Google potential employees, and did they Google you?

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